2011-2012 Nordica Girish, 185cm

Jonathan Ellsworth:

First of all, I have to admit: before this season, Nordica skis have never really been on my radar. As I wrote in our 1st ANNUAL BLISTER AWARDS piece, I was shocked to name TWO Nordica skis in a 3-way tie for Best Graphics. Now, I’m about to rave about the Girish. (I’m also on the brink of singing the praises of the Nordica Patrón, I just need a few more days on it.) It’s a brave new world out there.

I agree with everything Will says above, though I can’t personally attest to the Girish’s performance in tight trees. What I can underscore is how well the Girish handles chop and wide open spaces. And while I have had some of the best days of my life skiing deep powder at Alta this year, my time spent on the Girish was certainly a highlight of the season.

2011-2012 Nordica Girish, 185cm, BLISTER
Jonathan Ellsworth, Thirds, Alta Ski Area.

My first run on the Girish was dropping into about a foot of untracked snow on Thirds. It was a gorgeous, blue bird morning, and I was now laying first tracks down a wide open face. The Girish were happy to be skied from a centered, upright position, but they also responded to shovel pressure and were happy to be driven. This was particularly impressive because the snow wasn’t stupid light (as it often is in the Wasatch), yet I wasn’t getting thrown around or bucked at all while driving the tips.

Later in the day, we got word that Devil’s Castle was opening for the first time since the last storm, and our crew decided to head over. When the rope dropped, we traversed out to a huge sea of untracked snow.

Now, I’ve been skiing a ton of 5 dimension, “fun shaped” skis recently, and while they certainly are fun, they don’t rip. I wasn’t in the mood to make quick turns and bounce playfully down the Castle, I wanted to haul ass.

Flying down Devil’s Castle, making big, BIG, fast turns in about 12-18″ of fresh, wet snow, the Girish didn’t have a super surfy feel; instead, the tips were cutting through the snow with zero deflection and no bucking. About half way down, I was humbled to learn that, while skiing, my brain seems to work in worn out clichés: I found myself thinking, “Like a knife through butter.” At 110mm underfoot, the Girish floats you pretty well, but it is super effective at slicing and cutting through the snow (not just planing above it, then diving on you when it fails to plane).

Then there is the Girish’s performance in chop and bumped up run outs. The Nordica reminded me in these conditions of the 182cm MOMENT Belafonte, a fairly heavy ski (and 106mm under foot) that I love for it’s ability to rail hardpack and drive through crud and chop. The Belafontes are locked down on hard pack, and the Girish felt the same way.

2011-2012 Nordica Girish, 185cm, BLISTER
Jonathan Ellsworth, Gunsight, Alta Ski Area.

Much like the Belafontes, I couldn’t believe how stable the Girish was making big turns at high speed through the bumped up lines of Sunspot, West Rustler, and Alf’s High Rustler. Stay aggressive – forward – and blow through it all. (Aside #1: A couple weeks earlier, this same terrain was relatively terrifying on fun, playful, and pivot-y fun shaped skis.) (Aside #2: as I was skiing at Arapahoe Basin this past weekend, I kept thinking that the Girish would be a perfect ski for 80-90% of the terrain there.)

Finally, I’ll give the Girish high praise again by saying that it felt nearly as good – and perhaps simply as good – as the Belafonte on groomers, no speed limit whatsoever. And yet the Girish feels more forgiving than the Belafonte.

Either the Belafonte or the Girish could be an everyday driver out west, and I could see the Girish serving as the fat end – the chop and powder end – of a two-ski-quiver back east, and especially for people who carve their turns rather than smear them. It remains to be seen whether the Girish is, like the Belafonte, a handful in bumps, but I would think it is less so. We’ll see.

But for groomers, crud, chop, steeps, and powder, the Nordica Girish certainly lives up to its name.

19 comments on “2011-2012 Nordica Girish, 185cm”

  1. And we were all glad to have you there. We’ll definitely have to do it again (and again, and again….)

  2. Excellent writeup, boys! Two thoughtful reviews about a model of skis I’m now very excited to buy. I’ve been a great Nordica fan the last few years, and have been looking for a replacement for my Hellcats. This replacement must be an everyday ski that powers GS turns, plows through the crud, and while maybe not truly shining in the powder, certainly won’t disappoint. The Girish’s sound like just the ski for me!

  3. Hey, Todd. Given what you say you’re looking for, it does sound like the Girish is a good choice. If you pull the trigger on them, you’ll have to check back in next season and let us know what you think.

  4. Thanks for the comprehensive review once again!

    Girish is high on my list for this coming year. My current skis, and favorite ever, are the Dynastar 187 XXL. Sadly looking to move them over to rock status only this year.

    If you did a comparison between the Cochise, Girish, and Legend 105 that would be about the coolest thing to ever happen.

    • Hey Krick, Jason Hutchins is actually getting time on the Patron right now. He probably won’t have time to complete the review before we leave for Japan on Wednesday, but expect it by the end of February. (But he did just tell me that he’s never had more fun on harpack on a ski that fat. But then I told him that was because he hasn’t skied the Line Influence 115….Um, anyway, yeah, end of February.)

  5. Hi Alex, this is one of those times when I would really need to get back on both skis, because now you’ve got me wondering the same thing. Will hasn’t skied the Jag Shark yet, so he’s not in a position to weigh in. Hopefully, soon after we return from Japan, we can A / B the Girish and Jag Shark. Till then, it’s probably safer to stick to the original reviews and see which ski sounds like the better fit for you.

  6. Thanks for the great review guys!
    I’ve been thinking about an all around ski with a metal laminate because I also like to open it up a bit. I checked out Brown’s and Ellsworth’s stats (height and weight) to get an idea of what length I should look into: I’m 6’4″ and just under 190. Did you both end up skiing the 185 due to its having camber? I’m also interested in the Katana, but the review was for the 190+, and, according to the review, that larger size may be a bit too big for me to handle. Finally, I ski most of the Summit County resorts in CO. Thanks for any advice you could offer.

    • Hi Creighton,

      The 191 Katana is a big ski, there’s no doubt about that. The 191 and 198 lengths have a stiffer “athlete” flex profile, while the shorter lengths are supposedly a bit softer. As I say in my Northern Hemisphere update (which you can give a read here: http://blistergearreview.com/gear-reviews/update-2011-2012-volkl-katana-191cm/2), I would probably kill myself if I skied the 191 Katana every day in resort. They are surprisingly maneuverable at low speed considering how dangerously stable they are during a strightline pin, but are still a VERY burly ski that like wide open terrain.
      For Summit County, which of course includes a good deal of tree skiing and bumps, I think the 185 Girish or 183 Katana would serve you better. If you were a local at Snowbird, Las Lenas, or spent 100% of you time lapping Imperial at Breck, I might speak differently. Now, in choosing between the two skis, you’ll have to decide which camber profile sounds more appealing, the flat, more slarve prone Katana or the slightly more energetic Girish.
      As I have told another reader, I have a slight preference to the way the Girish feels on edge thanks to 3mm of traditional camber underfoot and a truly flat tail. I found that the hint of early rise in the Katana’s tail along with a flat profile underfoot, while they help make the ski so versatile and predictable, produce little energy in carving through a turn or boosting off a knoll/rock.
      I’m addicted to airing off any little feature I can find and carving a ski as hard as I can on my way back to the lift, so I prefer having a bit of energy in store when riding a heavier damp ski. I feel the Girish provides that more than the Katana does.

      Hope this helps,


  7. Thanks for the great reviews guys. I have been skiing the Rossignol S6 this year based on your review, and I like it a lot, but have decided I would rather go back to a little camber and no tail rocker. Thus I am back to thinking about trying to pick up a pair of the Girishes (not sure about the plural) at the end of the season. Do you know if they will make the ski next year? The 185s are getting hard to find, and like Creighton I am wondering about the 185 vs 193. I am 6’2′ 195. Also ski mostly in CO. Did you guys get to ski the 193 Girish at all? I am wondering if it will be too long for a wide range of skiing including bumps/trees? I have skied the 185 Enforcers (pre-rocker) and liked them a lot, but last year was also skiing a 189 Seth (also fully cambered, and really about 192) and it rarely felt too long. Keep up the good work.

    • Hi, Ben. While I’m awaiting confirmation from Nordica just to be absolutely certain, it looks like they will not be bringing the Girish back.

      Neither Will nor I skied the 193, though neither of us felt the need to go longer, and personally, I wouldn’t want a 193 Girish for bumps and trees.

      Will and I are both big fans of the Moment Belafonte, and that’s a ski that certainly shares some qualities of the Girish. (I’ve been skiing the new 187cm Belafonte at Taos and really liking it, though it’s certainly not the best zipperline bump ski in the world – but neither is the Girish. But the 187 Belafonte should go on your short list if you don’t pick up a Girish.

  8. Hi there! Love the site, you guys write by far the best/most informative and detailed reviews on the net! Just wondered if there was any update on the Nordica Patron or indeed next years Helldorado? Would be very interested to here about about comparative stability and how much difference the metal makes.



  9. Snagged a pair of 193 cm Girish in the previous year graffic for $200 on fleabay. I am so psyched. I had always searched for these on line and they just didn’t seem to be outthere. I was holding out for a deal on the cochise but that wasn’t happening. And then these turned up. I will be re-retireing my beloved xxl 194 cm, for these. Flex on these are sweet. Sometimes you can just tell how nice a ski is going to be by their flex and feel. 6′ & 215 lbs.

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